Friday, November 14, 2014

Magic Auction A Few Hours Away

November 15th, Haversat & Ewing Galleries will be holding an auction of some really great magic items. There are Houdini items, Blackstone Sr. and Jr. pieces, a Chung Ling Soo Poster, and some Kellar items as well. In addition there are quite a few books and various letters which will be in the auction.

My two favorite items: The Marlin Daily Handcuffs that were once Houdini's and The Stack of Fishbowls.....Ok, I'm an odd one, lol. There are some wonderful pieces in this auction. Good Luck to All the Bidders! Auction begins at 11am.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Old Magic Theatre Has Sold

Well it's official, the Cabot St. Cinema Theatre, which was once home (for 37 years) to the incredible Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company has sold. When it was first announced that the theatre was for sale, I must admit I feared for the worst. I was scared that a developer would come in and tear down the old theatre and put up condos. Just one town over, in Salem, there was once a theatre. In fact there is a fairly well known photo of Houdini's props sitting out in front of the Theatre making an incredible display. That theatre was torn down ages ago.

I recently learned that there had been some 20,000 live event theatres back in the heyday of Vaudeville and now about 250 remain. Thankfully, the Cabot will be one of those that stays. Apparently, it was sold to a group of townspeople who plan to turn it into the Cabot Performing Arts Center. BRAVO!!! And they've announced a bit of renovation as well. First up will be installing new seats. Having sat in those Cabot seats many times, I can say, yep, that is needed! I'm not sure what else they plan to do, but I for one am happy the old theatre is staying a theatre!

It reopens Nov 14th, once again showing movies. Soon they'll also be doing live events. Probably no magic shows on the horizon, but with the popularity of the new touring shows, The Illusionists, Masters of Illusion, and others, who knows?!

I will make one suggestion though, if anyone of the new owners cares. You should acquire one of the LGD Original Paintings and permanently mount it in the Lobby. Had it not been for Cesareo and the many many many cast members, and family members who worked on the LGD show, that theatre probably would not be standing today.

By the way, an interesting side note, the Theatre officially sold on Oct 16th, Cesareo's birthday.

The new theatre comes with a new website

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Magic Detective is IN the Linking Ring

Sammy Smith, editor of The Linking Ring, the Official Magazine of the International Brotherhood of Magicians had contacted me back in September and asked if I could write a review of the HOUDINI/History Channel Movie for the magazine. I said, "Sure!". Afterall, I had already written one for my blog. But I wanted to expand on a few things and delve a little deeper into the movie than I had initially done in my blog article.

The article is in the October 2014 issue of The Linking Ring. It's titled "A Magician's Guide to HOUDINI-The MiniSeries." Please check it out if you get a chance. I have had more people contact me regarding that article than just about anything I've written before. It's always nice to hear from people and it's even nicer to know people appreciate what you write.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blackstone's Elusive Moth Strikes Again!

This past weekend was The 2014 Yankee Gathering in New England. I missed it unfortunately. But thankfully two of my friends who did attend did something rather special. Those two friends are Rory Feldman and Adele Friel Rhindress. Rory is the owner of the Thurston Show...well pretty much. If Thurston were alive and wanted to find some of his show items, chances are Rory has them in his fantastic collection. Adele is a living treasure. She worked on the Blackstone Sr. Show from 1947-1950.

Rory had some silent footage of the Blackstone Show and he video taped Adele watching the footage. She gave a play by play analysis of what was going on and who was in the footage. The one unfortunate part is that it's only 14 minutes long. Once you see it you'll wish it was an hour or more. Adele's recollection of the events is amazing and I love how she describes the various illusions.

Thank You Rory and Adele for this incredible video!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Haven't We Seen This Show Somewhere Else?

Does this even deserve an explanation? Why is it everything Criss Angel touches makes me sad. I'm not sure there could be a more blatant rip-off of The Illusionists Show. I wish I knew the whole story, I know Brett Daniels is involved and he was involved in the original Illusionists Show. I always thought he was the creator of that show, but I'm afraid the history of it seems to be tough to track down. I also know Brett did a show in Branson this past summer called 'The Revolutionists'.

For the record, The Illusionists is running 3 different (maybe 4) versions of their show. The original cast, which is actually ever changing. The 2.0 cast headed by Luis DeMatos has a more modern and even futuristic cutting edge feel to the show. Then there is 1903, which debuts in January 2015 and which will be more Victorian in style. Brett Daniels was lead performer in the original cast and no idea why he ever left the show. Mark and Jinger Kalin filled that spot for a while, but now they are over in the 1903 show. OH, I said, maybe 4, because the Broadway show that opens very soon is a mix of the original cast, Kevin James, Andrew Basso, Dan Sperry, and Jeff Hobson, and the 2.0 cast, Adam Trent, Aaron Crow, and Yu Ho Jin. A lot more 'youth' in the Broadway show, just sayin.

Back to The Supernaturalists though, you can see the group concept and the look of the poster is totally ripped off from The Illusionists. Also, the Illusionists shows refer to each cast member by title, like The Manipulator, The Inventor, and so forth. Well, they are doing the exact same thing in The Supernaturalists. The sad thing, there are some really talented people in the cast, Banachek, Krystyn, and Consentino are excellent. I'm not sure what the hell is up with Brett Daniels hanging upside down like a bat. I saw a right side up version of him in that getup and he looked awful. But that said, Brett is a very talented performer. I've seen him many times live and always enjoyed his show.

The multi-person cast thing is not original. There have been shows like that forever. But there are very specific things that make The Illusionists Show unique. From what I've seen so far, the Supernaturalists have just stolen those unique elements. For goodness sake, if you want to create something different/unique, why not start with an original design concept for the poster? The way they've done it, and the way they did it before with the previous version of this show (yes I remember that also), they look like The Wanna-Be Illusionists. Uggh.

Now let me say something positive. A Gothic Ensemble Magic Show is a great idea! But as I've already stated, don't copy. I also don't think Criss Angel needs to have a 'live video' feed into the show or at least it doesn't need to be mentioned on the poster. I DO think that his name should be on the poster and the image of his eyes in the background is great. I also like the upside down Brett Daniels from a graphics perspective. I have no idea what he is going to do otherwise because it seems out of character.  But I do not like the standard ILLUSIONIST pose by the rest of the cast. Let me say something else positive, Criss Angel has some of the most killer photos and graphics in his advertising in all of Vegas. USE THAT! Dip into that stream because there is great stuff there. I may not be a fan, but I recognize some excellent graphic design and photography when I see it. But don't copy the other shows design scheme.

By the way, Masters of Illusion is a touring show. They have multiple performers. They have not copied The Illusionists Show at all. They've even had some of the same acts as The Illusionists, but they are doing their own thing, and they are doing a damn good job of it too. So it just goes to show you don't have to steal to have a quality production.